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Leslie Ashworth (1952)

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Leslie Ashworth wrote on Saturday, December 23, 2006: "Hello, Richard, There is a museum in Summitville, New York, on 209. It’s about 12 miles up from Westbrookville. I had a very brief visit there because my plane was leaving in the later afternoon. It is a very small museum and you are probably already aware of it. There’s stuff there about the Ashworths’. If you haven’t been there, there may be stuff about your family there as well. It’s one of those museums where it’s just run by volunteers. Mr. Masten is in his seventies. He lost his wife to cancer back in August. He lives in Wurtsboro. When I was there in May I didn’t have a chance to take a lot of notes. A relative of mine, a member of the Page wrote a lot of stuff. The stuff is all typewritten. It’s got footnotes, though. I have no idea why J. E. left England but he did grow up in a manufacturing town. The story goes that he stowed away on a ship. Classic, huh? Somehow he ended up in Vermont. He had a trade. He knew about weaving and he must have learned that trade in Manchester. He got to Hartland, Vermont. Their historical info said: “J. E. Ashworth’s blanket factory, formerly the Sturtevant woolen mills, located on road 26, is operated by water power, has five looms, one set of carriages and jacks (mules), and all necessary machinery for manufacturing horse and army blankets. Mr. Ashworth employs twelve men and manufactures 10,000 per annum.” A lady at their historical society went to great trouble to send me a photo of that mill. How many mills did my great-great grandfather have? Four. The one in Hartland, the one in Eagleville, the one in Whippany, and the one in Westbrookville. If he made army blankets, he must have had a contract with the government and it may have been for the War between the States because he was in Hartland in the very late 1850s. Before we stopped talking, my father said that the mill in Westbrookville used to be a tannery. They used the bark a tree. In the records at Summitville, it was said that the mill was a grain mill originally. I think the red brick part is the grist mill part. My father also said that when deer hunting season came around that people would bring the deer meat to the mill to be shared among the workers. My father also went to that school that you put on Wikipedia. He started working at the mill when he was thirteen years old. Yeah, my grandfather could be a really hard man. He put his namesake to work on a loom at the age of thirteen. The Ashworths’ owned the Mill. They also worked in it. Kip Ashworth made the dyes. They worked with a pattern book of Scottish plaids. They imported English, Irish, and French wool in bales. Pattern Number One was the Stuart Plaid and I have Pattern Number One. It is from the time before they had the machine to twist the fringe. I have the one that the fringe was twisted by hand by the women who worked in the Ashworth Mill. I may have told you that my family made blankets to sell to Sears and Roebuck, Montgomery Wards, and Penny’s. However a cottage industry couldn’t keep up with the advent of imports. The Mill was closed in 1961. It had had about a 100 year run from the way I figure. The Rhodes land may have gone back to that land grant by Queen Ann. Too bad my mother’s not talking to me either. When Richard Kenyon Rhodes finally broke with Westbrookville, he had several old, old documents. One of them is a huge survey map. You know the area, Richard, so you probably know Otisville and where the train comes out of the tunnel. The place used to be a dump where trash burned. It has since been reclaimed. The Rhodes owned the land almost up to Otisville; they owned the part where the old dump was. They also owned almost to Deepark, I think. Cousin Dixon, he likes to be called Dick for some reason, really tried to put all of the family history together, bless his old heart. In the stuff he sent me, (and he does not know that he father is not speaking to me) Cousin Dixon wrote about himself and his family. He’s another branch of the Ashworths. Oh, the reason why my grandfather on my mother’s side has a Purple Heart is because he was in WW1. He was part of what they called “The Lost Battalion”. Look it up, Richard. My ultimate goal is to put the history of J. E. Ashworth and the J.E. Ashworth and Sons Blanket Mill on Wikapedia. The Wilapedia post was to be a tribute to my family's endurance. You are a great help to me. Thank you. L.

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